Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

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Class 101

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Watch this video by Elizabeth Murphy at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Distance Education Learning Technologies).

 

  1. What method is this teacher using - grammar-translation or communicative language teaching?
  2. What can be said about this class with respect to constructivist concepts such as
  • motivation
  • interaction
  • output?

 

ANSWERS

1. What method is this teacher using - grammar-translation or communicative language teaching?

The approach is broadly grammar-translation: the teacher is working on a particular grammatical construction, and uses the L1 (English) to teach the L2 (French).  No effort is made to provide a communicative context for learning.

2. What can be said about this class with respect to constructivist concepts such as

  • motivation: there is no attempt to motivate the students
  • interaction: the teacher answers her own questions - there is no interaction
  • output: the students do not produce any language

This extreme example of a traditional grammar-based second language class highlights many of the problems associated with this type of teaching: the lack of a motivating communicative context and activities involving learner output and interaction severely limit learning opportunities.  For Blyth, it is essential for teachers not to "delay students' gratification" in this way.

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